Morgan Shepherd: ‘There’s no better racer than Kyle Busch’
By Kyle McFadden
September 9, 2017
RICHMOND, Va.—No other driver in the history of the sport has raced in more seasons than Morgan Shepherd, who, at 75 years old, is miraculously competing in his 50th year on the NASCAR circuit.
He’s competed against every stock car giant; Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt Sr., David Pearson, Jeff Gordon, Bobby Allison, Darrell Waltrip, Cale Yarborough, Jimmie Johnson, you name it.
In addition, he’s raced alongside stars in the making like Kyle Larson, William Byron and Erik Jones. But of the hundreds of drivers he’s challenged since 1970, only one stands out.
“It don’t come no better than Kyle Busch,” Shepherd said. “He’s incredible. Nobody has done what he’s done.”
In his 16-year NASCAR career, Busch has won 170 races across the three touring series—40 in Cup, 91 in XFINITY and 31 in a truck—giving him a win percentage of 18.3 percent.
For perspective, NASCAR’s king, Richard Petty, who won 18 percent of the races he participated in.
Busch also has a pair of titles (2015 Cup and 2009 in the then-Nationwide Series), racked up 107 poles and has led nearly 40,000 laps (38,458, as of September 9).
His 40 Cup wins are the second-most by an active driver only to Jimmie Johnson’s 83.
“I certainly appreciate it,” Busch said. “It’s humbling for as long as he’s been here he thinks that. It’s pretty cool he’s still around and still out there trying to get it done. I do appreciate that.”
Shepherd also mentioned Kyle Larson, the 24-year-old high-riser who's gone from the dirt circuit to a Cup favorite night in and night out in a span of five years.
“There’s others, like Kyle Larson. He’s that kind of driver, too,” Shepherd said. “He wins on the dirt. He’s a wheelman. ... He’s right there, too.”
In 2012, 2013 and 2014, Larson won K&N Pro Series East, XFINITY Series and Cup Series Rookie of the Year honors. Last year, he finished third in the Cup Standings and as the playoffs await, he’s in position to compete once again.
Larson has 12 career victories, with four coming in the Cup Series. He’s won a K&N Pro Series East title (2012), two Turkey Night Grand Prix's (2012 and 2016) and a Rolex 24 at Daytona (2015). His victories on dirt are too many to count.
While Shepherd marvels at what legends like Petty and Dale Sr. did back in the glory days, it still doesn’t get better than Kyle Busch, the seemingly ageless wonder says.
“Nobody has done for the sport what Richard Petty has done for the sport,” Shepherd said.
“Richard, Ned Jarrett, Cale Yarborough, and you can’t forget the old fox, David Pearson. There’s a couple more I’m leaving out. But there’s no better racer than Kyle Busch.”
IMAGES Ryan Willard/The Racing Experts NASCAR Media Group SOURCES Racing-Reference.info